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Rating:
8.5
Animals As Leaders - Weightless
4 November 2011


01. An Infinite Regression
02. Odessa
03. Somnarium
04. Earth Departure
05. Isolated Incidents
06. Do Not Go Gently
07. New Eden
08. Cylindrical Sea
09. Espera
10. To Lead You To An Overwhelming Question
11. Weightless
12. David


Imagine you were on a date and the other person saw you with the Weightless CD and asked you what it sounds like. Most people wouldn't describe it as make-out music, however tempting that would be in that situation. I think the music of this US trio is better described as musical gymnastics. If that is a good aphrodisiac or not, that depends on whether you say it with a sexy face or not.

The controlled chaos that is AAL returns after two years. The entangled riffs and changing dynamics continue. Some of the riffs still seem to be trying to fool what our rhythmic perception is, their trademark, but they also have a certain characteristic which you find in bands like Protest The Hero: they don't need ten minutes to be progressive. In fact, none of the songs in Weightless surpasses the five-minute mark. This seems to be happening more often these days, as if bands were getting tired of that particular formula or because our attention span won't allow it anymore. Both bands also come from the same tradition of virtuosity and skill in terms of playing their instruments.

Weightless sounds more organic and focused than Animals As Leaders. There is a certain urgency in some of the songs right from the get-go with "An Infinite Regression", which is heightened by the samples/effects used and electronic sound-waves. The opening song marks the territory and is an ideal link between their previous work and this new offering. The djent blasts are controlled and subtle, the aggression is never overwhelming with AAL and the mellow parts of songs like "Somnarium" or "David" can be so peaceful and transcendental that you are easily pulled in. Certain sounds resemble bass sounds, but they are really just guitar-generated. It is the drummer who is doing most of the bass-pounding rhythms. But whatever approach they take, it is never something permanent; instead, it is unstable and fluctuating.

There is also a Joe Satriani vibe going on, especially in the main leads of "Do Not Go Gently" and "Cylindrical Sea", which means the solos are more melodic. He is a reference when it comes to instrumental guitar-based albums after all, but it is somewhat surprising to find traces of his music here.

However, there is a continuity "problem", the album is all over the place, there is no real order in the sequence of the songs, they are loosely placed, which makes the album sound disjointed. But some songs do share a common thread like "Odessa" and "Somnarium" or "Do Not Go Gently" and "Cylindrical Sea", but other than that, it is mostly fragmented. The best songs all seem to be concentrated on the first part of the album. "Espera" and "Weightless", for instance, don't have much to add to what we already listened to beforehand, they only drag the album a little longer.

It can be argued that some of these songs are too "thick" or overdone, difficult to get into. Whether you like the process or view it as a pompous one, Animals As Leaders continue to defy the norm and fine-tune their songwriting abilities; Weightless is just another footprint in the sand.

Highlights: "Do Not Go Gently", "Cylindrical Sea", "Odessa", "Isolated Incidents" and "David".

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Animals As Leaders
Album: Weightless


 



Written on 23.12.2011 by
BloodTears
News chief, random reviewer, professional progger and wannabe surfer.
More reviews by BloodTears ››



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Troy Killjoy - 23.12.2011 at 02:42  
I almost never enjoy the music you write about but your reviews are always very well-written. Good job yet again.
Susan - 23.12.2011 at 03:28  
Wow, I do need to hear this. I think understand what you mean about the types of flaws this album might have but the rest of what you wrote convinced me to give it a spin anyway. I can just taste the mood you described. Awesome.
Introspekrieg - 23.12.2011 at 06:01  
The whole first paragraph made me feel like a very awkward penguin...

This is a difficult album to review, especially because of the "hard-to-describe" factor. I think you did a great job in getting it right. (Although some riffs are so awkward and chunky I don't think they could be considered gymnastics lol). It is important to note that this album was approached from a different perspective than the first because of the absence of Misha Mansoor (Periphery) in the production and songwriting. I feel that after several spins, this is a very rewarding and impressive album.
Troy Killjoy - 23.12.2011 at 06:04  
Written by Introspekrieg on 23.12.2011 at 06:01
The whole first paragraph made me feel like a very awkward penguin...

First six words made me nervous to the point of tears.
Gelati - 23.12.2011 at 06:57  
This album is definitely more challenging to enjoy and takes a few spins before you can really appreciate a lot of it but I like it just as much as the first album. Having a real drummer really adds some more feel to it. For the record they're absolutely incredible live.
Siegreicher - 23.12.2011 at 07:49  
Way to jazzy for me to get into, which is sad cuse the first album is a 10/10 in my opinion
Introspekrieg - 23.12.2011 at 09:13  
Written by Siegreicher on 23.12.2011 at 07:49

Way to jazzy for me to get into, which is sad cuse the first album is a 10/10 in my opinion


Really? I found the first album more jazzy, where as this one had more of an electronic/industrial tinge...
BudDa - 23.12.2011 at 09:32  
I am one of those people who listens to Animals As Leaders coz I know/heard that Tosin Abasi is a really talented guitarist...and I appreciate that. The music though, usually puts me to sleep
BloodTears - 23.12.2011 at 10:21  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 23.12.2011 at 02:42

I almost never enjoy the music you write about but your reviews are always very well-written. Good job yet again.


I'm gonna turn you and some day you'll be part of the Prog Babes
BloodTears - 23.12.2011 at 10:23  
Written by Introspekrieg on 23.12.2011 at 06:01

The whole first paragraph made me feel like a very awkward penguin...

This is a difficult album to review, especially because of the "hard-to-describe" factor. I think you did a great job in getting it right. (Although some riffs are so awkward and chunky I don't think they could be considered gymnastics lol). It is important to note that this album was approached from a different perspective than the first because of the absence of Misha Mansoor (Periphery) in the production and songwriting. I feel that after several spins, this is a very rewarding and impressive album.


Also why did the first paragraph made you feel weird? ahah And Troy nervous.
Milena - 23.12.2011 at 10:31  
Written by BloodTears on 23.12.2011 at 10:21

Written by Troy Killjoy on 23.12.2011 at 02:42

I almost never enjoy the music you write about but your reviews are always very well-written. Good job yet again.


I'm gonna turn you and some day you'll be part of the Prog Babes

I'll try and take care of that as well, I'm already downloading a batch of his albums to wait for me until the job 'round the Awards ends.
BloodTears - 23.12.2011 at 11:48  
Written by Susan on 23.12.2011 at 03:28

Wow, I do need to hear this. I think understand what you mean about the types of flaws this album might have but the rest of what you wrote convinced me to give it a spin anyway. I can just taste the mood you described. Awesome.


I'm really curious about what you think about the album. Please let me know when you do listen to it
malaikat - 23.12.2011 at 14:57  
Never saw the "continuity" problem...Oh well. Awesome album, so-so review for me.
Susan - 24.12.2011 at 02:45  
Written by BloodTears on 23.12.2011 at 11:48

Written by Susan on 23.12.2011 at 03:28

Wow, I do need to hear this. I think understand what you mean about the types of flaws this album might have but the rest of what you wrote convinced me to give it a spin anyway. I can just taste the mood you described. Awesome.


I'm really curious about what you think about the album. Please let me know when you do listen to it


Ok I just listened and while I definitely need more listens and time to let it sink in, I'm going to go ahead and say: wonderful. I had not gotten around to hearing this band before so it was my first exposure I love the jazzy elements and almost electronic feeling that comes and goes from the drums. The guitar was awesome but didn't take center stage as if it were a "guitar rock" album. Everything seemed to coalesce. Let me give it more time though But thanks for reviewing! I knew I'd like something you gave an 8.5 to.
Mr. Doctor - 24.12.2011 at 03:30  
This is exactly the kind of prog music I don't like... It felt so sterile to me, nice melodies but emotionless to me.
Lovely review though.
Zealot644 - 24.12.2011 at 21:59  
This album wasnt terrible...but it sure wasnt terrific.

I barely made an entire playthrough as I found it sterile and boring =\

6/10 for me.
qlacs - 27.12.2011 at 10:25  
The review beat almost all of Troy writings, and I fully agree. I would add that the "5 minute thingy" for me is really annoying since there are some really great songs on the album and when you just managed to get into it, it ends. Sh!z. There was no such a thing with the debut...
Dark Blood - 27.12.2011 at 21:44  
Ok, I've heard a few songs from the album and it has some really good pieces there. Although it feels the songs are a little short but it's definitely a nice and original prog album. Needs more attention though.

As for the review... well, I don't know whether I should give it a 9 or a 10, which makes me feel in an awful dilemma, and that's not good at all. These kind of situations should be avoided at all cost and it's not good for the reviewer, specially coming from one such as you. You should be ashamed...

Don't mind the sarcasm Lol. Jokes aside, you did a great job as always. Very well-written and specific in terms of putting into words how the music sounds. Congratulations.
BloodTears - 28.12.2011 at 10:21  
Written by Dark Blood on 27.12.2011 at 21:44

Ok, I've heard a few songs from the album and it has some really good pieces there. Although it feels the songs are a little short but it's definitely a nice and original prog album. Needs more attention though.

As for the review... well, I don't know whether I should give it a 9 or a 10, which makes me feel in an awful dilemma, and that's not good at all. These kind of situations should be avoided at all cost and it's not good for the reviewer, specially coming from one such as you. You should be ashamed...

Don't mind the sarcasm Lol. Jokes aside, you did a great job as always. Very well-written and specific in terms of putting into words how the music sounds. Congratulations.


Ahah kind words as always. I'm spoiled Glad you listened to the album, it definitely needs time to sink in, if it ever does, it might not with you.

Did you have a good Christmas?
Dark Blood - 28.12.2011 at 20:08  
Written by BloodTears on 28.12.2011 at 10:21

Written by Dark Blood on 27.12.2011 at 21:44

Ok, I've heard a few songs from the album and it has some really good pieces there. Although it feels the songs are a little short but it's definitely a nice and original prog album. Needs more attention though.

As for the review... well, I don't know whether I should give it a 9 or a 10, which makes me feel in an awful dilemma, and that's not good at all. These kind of situations should be avoided at all cost and it's not good for the reviewer, specially coming from one such as you. You should be ashamed...

Don't mind the sarcasm Lol. Jokes aside, you did a great job as always. Very well-written and specific in terms of putting into words how the music sounds. Congratulations.


Ahah kind words as always. I'm spoiled Glad you listened to the album, it definitely needs time to sink in, if it ever does, it might not with you.

Did you have a good Christmas?


Yeah, I did. You know, the usual. Always nice to spend with family. How about you?
adace1 - 30.12.2011 at 07:20  
Phenomenal album. About as good as the self-titled. Weightless confirms for me that AAL are my favorite metal instrumental band.
Panterica - 30.12.2011 at 14:09  
I liked a lot their previous album so I suppose I need to listen to this one too, but it'll take time to put my hands on this one 'cause it can't be found in stores in my country. And listening to it on youtube is not an option, it's way too impersonal.
Kuroboshi - 01.01.2012 at 14:43  
Great review, really. And I agree, the second half is less memorable than the first: for example, weightless is a cool song, but too unfocused for its own good. I've been practically only listening to Somnarium this last day. Oh my god, it is such a nice song.
BloodTears - 01.01.2012 at 15:02  
Written by Kuroboshi on 01.01.2012 at 14:43

Great review, really. And I agree, the second half is less memorable than the first: for example, weightless is a cool song, but too unfocused for its own good. I've been practically only listening to Somnarium this last day. Oh my god, it is such a nice song.


Thank you! And I agree, the songs aren't necessarily bad in themselves but they pale in comparison to the ones in the first half of the album. And Somnarium really is an interesting song, I really enjoy the way it builds up.
Grody2themax - 16.01.2012 at 23:28  
This album sounds way more professional and mature than the first one imo. Sometimes when I was listening to the first one there were parts that I felt like were in there just to show off and that element seems to be mostly gone in this album.

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